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BUSH CLEAN AIR ACT RUNS INTO CRITICS ^ | Feb 04, 2005 | by staff reports

Posted on 02/04/2005 11:33:44 AM PST by FreeMarket1


Feb 04, 2005 -

by staff reports

Congress is getting ready to debate the Bush Administration’s proposed changes to the Clean Air Act, dubbed the “Clear Skies” initiative. At stake are considerations as to how soon reduced emissions should take effect. The Act has run into considerable opposition and energetic sniping. Critics such as Frank O’Donnell, argue for a time frame closer than the Administration’s 2018 target date, with its stated goal about improved air quality through simplified and less costly regulations

The Washington Post reports that O’Donnell, former executive director of an organization known as Clean Air Trust, has split to form his own nonprofit lobbying effort known as Clean Air Watch.

In an email interview, he writes in near-apocalyptic terms: "The Clean Air Act appears to be in unprecedented danger. Never before have we seen a situation in which opponents of a strong Clean Air Act are in charge not only at the White House . . . but also chair both key congressional committees."

Allied with this effort are groups like Environmental Health Watch, where Dr. Kathleen Fagan, president of the EHW in Cleveland, remarks, “As a physician specializing in environmental and occupational health, I am appalled at the Bush administration’s blatant disregard for the health of the American people. If the Bush administration cared about the health and lives of the American people, they would be looking for ways to speed up the EPA clean air programs, rather than trying to slow down or stop them.”

She claims that the President’s proposals would weaken the Clean Air Act as follows:

-The Bush air pollution plan will allow a 300% increase in mercury pollution, a neurotoxin that can cause brain damage and birth defects and for which the Ohio Department of Health has issued a statewide fish consumption advisory warning people to limit their consumption of fish caught in Ohio lakes and rivers.

-The Bush air pollution plan allows for a 68% increase in the ozone-forming pollution that triggers asthma attacks and sends more than a thousand Ohioans to the hospital every year.

-The Bush air pollution plan allows a 200% increase in the soot-forming pollution that can cause premature death. An estimated 1,920 people – 2nd most in the nation – die prematurely each year in Ohio from power plant emissions of soot, tiny particles that penetrate deeply into the lung.

Fagan and O’Donnell are part of a broad coalition of activists reaching out to a broad cross-section of Americans via educational efforts and websites to try to communicate the gravity of the environmental crisis.

The web sites of these individuals reveal fairly consistent shared convictions – along with many of the same donors – and among the two most important and widely shared are the imminence of global warming and the scarcity of resources.

Fagan’s website lists ways that individuals can “harmonize the human economy with the earth's natural systems.” Among the site's recommendations:

-Stop at two: The birth of another excessively consuming American adds a tremendous burden to the earth's life support systems. So stop at two children, or one, or none.

-Eat low on the food chain: Meat production creates far more environmental impacts than the cultivation of grains, vegetables and fruits. So a vegetarian lifestyle can be healthier for you and for the earth. Also try to eat organically and regionally.

-Reduce, reuse, recycle: Remember that recycling is a last resort — something you do when you can't reduce your consumption in the first place. Especially remember to reduce your consumption of materials, such as gold and other scarce metals, that cause a lot of environmental destruction to produce.

Fagan’s website is linked to such organizations as “The Department of the Planet Earth.” The website describes its background and mission thusly:

“Organized in 1991 by citizens from the United States and Canada, concerned about the rapid decline of global environment, global pollution of ecosystems, health injuries from toxins, and lifestyles and economies like that of the United States and Canada featuring such waste that they challenge Earth's future. … There has been a proposal to convert the US Environmental Protection Agency into a Cabinet office or Department of the Environment. This effort failed, as well as an effort to write pollution prevention into the charter of the new agency. And so, the concept of a Department of the Planet Earth is still unrealized.”

Not long ago, O'Donnell released a Press Bulletin entitled “ExxonMobil Funds Right Wing Propoganda Groups” in which he criticized what he perceived as a cozy relationship between so-called right wing groups and corporate America’s largest companies. Among the groups O’Donnell listed were the laissez faire Cato Institute which he calls a “right wing think tank”, The Competitive Enterprise Institute, which he characterizes as a “another reliable corporate ally very big against attempts to deal with global warming” and The Tech Central Science Foundation “which whips up propaganda against the McCain-Lieberman climate change initiative”.

O’Donnell, meanwhile, confirms to the Post that he receives support from unnamed philanthropists, but draws a distinction between private philanthropy and corporate donations, claiming that Clean Air Watch does not receive corporate funding.

Activists like O’Donnell and Fagan often sound reasonable in soundbites, but the assumption of absolutes when discussing global warming or the scarcity of resources is at least questionable, given the data available to both sides.

Insofar as global warming is concerned, one only need look at its proponents – including the United Nations, the European Union and others ............................Full Article

KEYWORDS: airpollution; bush; cleanair; cleanairact; congress; environment; epa; freemarketnews; pollutionplan; unitednations

1 posted on 02/04/2005 11:33:45 AM PST by FreeMarket1
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To: farmfriend

2 posted on 02/04/2005 12:05:54 PM PST by Libertarianize the GOP (Make all taxes truly voluntary)
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